KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not hesitate to take tough, necessary and right decisions for achieving Malaysia’s goal to remain a safer, more prosperous and equal society in 2016, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said such decisions would be taken even they were not popular “in order to protect the people from the scourges of terrorism.”
“To protect our precious unity that safeguards our unique diversity, and to protect that bright future that is the birthright of every Malaysia,” he said in his New Year message Thursday.
“I can assure you that the government will always strive with every sinew,” he said.
Najib also reminded all Malaysians not to take security lightly and underestimate the clear and present dangers faced by the country internally and externally.
Malaysia faces multiple manaces that recognise no borders, from terrorism to foreign incursions into its sovereign territory, such as Lahad Datu in 2013, said Najib.
He added that 150 Malaysians had been arrested for terrorism-related activities since the formation of a so-called Islamic State and potential attacks in Kuala Lumpur, that had been foiled.
Thus, he said, this threat must be taken seriously, and this is why the government passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) at the beginning of the year and the National Security Bill earlier this month.
The Prime Minister said with the two laws, it would enable security forces to control and manage threat and react at an early stage, before a situation can escalate.
“We will not wait for terrorist outrage to take place before proactively putting in place all measures necessary to avert the possibility,” he said.
Najib also stressed that the battle against radicalisation and those that blaspheme the name of Islam with their barbarities must also be fought in Malaysia, not just in the Middle East.
Describing 2015 as a year full of challenges for Malaysia and other countries, he said economically, Malaysia was not alone in being affected by the drop in oil prices.
“But as one of the few net-oil exporting countries in East Asia, it impacted our finances more than most,” he said adding that the slowdown in China’s economy has also affected the local economy.
He said despite challenging global economic headwinds, the World Bank has commended Malaysia for keeping its macroeconomic policies strong.
“In 2016, we expect our economy to expand between four to five per cent, driven by private investment and consumption,” he said.